real life

How the rise of women has turned men into boys.

That’s the title of a new book that claims it’s women’s fault that there are a growing number of guys trapped in a type of kidult-hood.

Author of the soon-to-be-published book ‘When My Husband Does The Dishes….’ Kerri Sackville writes:


“Recently I was at a wedding where a 26 year old boy – I’ll call him Ben – was seated at my table. Now, technically I should say ’a 26 year old man’. After all, a 26 year old has been a legal adult for eight years. But this 26 year old was not a man. Ben was endearing, handsome and polite, but he was most definitely still a child. A teenager, at best.

Why? Well, for a start, Ben still lived at home with his parents (and, incidentally, his 24 year old sister).  Though he’d completed uni, he still wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life, and was alternating part time work with travel while he made up his mind. He had no partner, no children, no property, no responsibilities, and no sense of urgency to attain any of the above. He was perfectly happy just coasting along, doing what he was doing, for the foreseeable future.

I found this all a bit baffling. Now obviously, I’m from another generation, but I remember being desperately excited to move out of home, which I did at the relatively late age of 22. And as a parent, I can’t imagine encouraging my kids to live at home well into adulthood. My eldest is only 11, so it’s a way off but I do feel like it’s part of my job to help my kids move into independence.

Interestingly enough, though, when I chatted to Ben’s mother at the wedding she told me she was delighted he still lived with the family.

“It’s easy,” she said. “He’s lovely to have around, so why not?”

Now don’t get me wrong; I don’t have anything against adult child living with parents or in-laws for periods of time. Life is hard and not everyone can afford their own home and parents can also be an invaluable source of childcare, particularly for working families. But when young adults, with no dependents, are delaying  responsibility for no reason other than that they can, well, that’s something else altogether.

Kay Hymowitz, in her new book ‘Manning Up: How the Rise of Women has Turned Men into Boys’ defines people living in this state of prolonged adolescence as ‘pre-adults’, and focuses specifically on males.  According to Hymowitz, many young men are shunning the traditional responsibilities and commitments of marriage and parenthood entirely, or until well into their thirties, and this has had a major impact on male-female relationships. Women are becoming the dominant gender, and men are becoming less and less relevant.

As she writes:

“What also makes pre-adulthood something new is its radical reversal of the sexual hierarchy. Among pre-adults, women are the first sex. They graduate from college in greater numbers (among Americans ages 25 to 34, 34% of women now have a bachelor’s degree but just 27% of men), and they have higher GPAs. As most professors tell it, they also have more confidence and drive. These strengths carry women through their 20s, when they are more likely than men to be in grad school and making strides in the workplace. In a number of cities, they are even out-earning their brothers and boyfriends.

Relatively affluent, free of family responsibilities, and entertained by an array of media devoted to his every pleasure, the single young man can live in pig heaven—and often does. Women put up with him for a while, but then in fear and disgust either give up on any idea of a husband and kids or just go to a sperm bank and get the DNA without the troublesome man. But these rational choices on the part of women only serve to legitimize men’s attachment to the sand box. Why should they grow up? No one needs them anyway. There’s nothing they have to do.”


So do you agree? Do you know men like Ben?

You can follow Kerri’s blog here and catch up with her on Twitter here.

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